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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first year as a beekeeper and I'm wondering if I can take any honey from my hives, I have a ten frame hive with a deep and two mediums, the top medium has all ten frames totally full of honey and the lower medium has 4 frames full of honey. The eight frame hive has all eight top frames full of honey and the lower has 3 frames full of honey. the rest of the frames are full of larvae and brood. My question is can I harvest any of the honey from either hive or should I leave all the honey for the winter season. If it helps any I live in SC where the winters are fairly mild. Any advise is greatly appreciated. :kn:
 

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You'll likely get several opinions on this....It sounds like your hives are in pretty good shape for the winter, except its August. What do you get for a fall flow in your area? ...and of course you can also feed them in the fall to get to whatever hive weight is typical for your area for overwintering.

From what you post, you could likely take a few frames of honey and call it good, leave the bulk for them and add some supplemental feeding in the fall depending on your flows.
 

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I'm in the same state as you. I have two full supers on one hive, I'm gonna take 75% and then feed.
Colorado?

First year here, but my two mentors would say take the honey and they will put up enough in the fall to make it through the winter. Pollen is not a problem here in the Midland, but nectar is. Mine are still bringing in pollen.

Just went through a hive this weekend exactly like yours and a master beekeeper told us to take the top super full of honey off.
 

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Colorado?

First year here, but my two mentors would say take the honey and they will put up enough in the fall to make it through the winter. Pollen is not a problem here in the Midland, but nectar is. Mine are still bringing in pollen.

Just went through a hive this weekend exactly like yours and a master beekeeper told us to take the top super full of honey off.
I really shouldn't comment, but I had a new hive from feral bees, brood box full, honey deep was 80% full with honey, they were running out of room, so I added another deep, swapped out several frames of honey in the brood box, and in the deep to give them more room. again I'm no expert, I learned the hard way, they swarmed on me because of me waiting just a week to extract, inexperience! didn't see the warning signs such as swarm cells, queen cells and bearding on the outside of the hive, and the hyperactivity outside. This feral queen is outstanding, best producer I've seen in the four seasons. They didn't swarm on me, like several of my other hives did.
 

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I would extract the entire top super. If you feel better about it, leave a couple. If you take it all and we have a bad fall flow you'll need to give them some sugar near winter but that's the gamble. Warm winters mean they consume more of their stores because they move aroound more. Just make sure the hives are heavy going into winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dave, You mention bearding, I haven't had time to research in the past couple of months but I've had a hive that has been bearding for about a month now with lots of activity in the late afternoon evening. Am I correct to assume they are getting crowded and about to swarm? I did check the hive last week and since the top medium was totally full so I added another medium.
 

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bearding means lots of bees in the hive and the bees are active they are hanging out on the porch after a days work to cool down, the hive is warm., this is good. it can also mean not enough room or ventilation and a strong colony for the space, this is your management problem as landlord. bearding does not indicate a swarm is about to happen, but it is a call for you to watch out and act. at the least open the hive up some. open the top or slide a box back offset for a large upper entrance. readjust later to avoid robbing as the flow winds down and the weather turns cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would drilling a hole in front and back of the top box and covering it with screen be a good idea?
 

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Would drilling a hole in front and back of the top box and covering it with screen be a good idea?
What have you got for entrances now? I have a 7/8" hole just off the right top corner as you face the front of the box in addition to the usual bottom entrance. No screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What have you got for entrances now? I have a 7/8" hole just off the right top corner as you face the front of the box in addition to the usual bottom entrance. No screen.
All I have is the main entrance. You mean on the top hive box to make another small entrance for them, that would give them more ventilation.?
 

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trunkman: a slot in the inner cover 3/4 wide or so is a small top entrance without a permanent hole. a tello cover tipped up with a hole in the center of the inner cover is also good, or both as I do. I do not get a lot of real hot weather. you can slide the upper super back about 1 1/4 inches or so to get a nice wide temporary top entrance, this is about the best choice for a strong hive. you can prop up the cover with a stick or shim, good idea for a migratory cover. there are many options besides the drill. the drill works too. experiment. be prepared to back off quick if robbing starts. screens get plugged up with dirt and propolis over time, this is more difficult to keep clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you, I will try shimming on the next hot day, it's only about 70 degrees here today, which is very unusual and low 60's at night. Thanks for all the advice everyone! :thumbsup:
 

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All I have is the main entrance. You mean on the top hive box to make another small entrance for them, that would give them more ventilation.?
Yes. What you would be doing is providing them with an upper entrance which also enhances ventilation. Some people don't like drilling holes in their equipment - for them an option is to slide part of the stack of boxes (generally back) to create ventilation. Remember the bees will have to be able to defend whatever opening you create.
 
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